Charlie Baker Announces His Campaign, Gives Tour of Backyard

The 2010 Republican nominee is giving it another go with a warm family-focused message.

Charlie Baker has made his campaign for governor of Massachusetts official with a YouTube video that describes the reasons he’s running. In it, he (re)introduces himself as a family man who’s running to help his community. As a bonus, he gives us a tour of various angles on a nice looking backyard (his own, most likely?)

“I care about our community where we’ve raised our family, and being a good son and brother,” he says to a swelling violin accompaniment. “And as corny as it might sound, that’s exactly why I want to be your governor. I care about this great state and the wonderful people who make it strong and call it home.”

Baker, long expected to run should Scott Brown stay out of the race, was the 2010 Republican nominee against Deval Patrick. Though he didn’t fare so well in that campaign, Boston magazine’s editor John Wolfson once called him “the man destined to be our next governor.” (And hey, he’s not wrong yet! As Republican national committeeman Ron Kauffman noted unhelpfully yesterday, “Lincoln lost 14 times before he became president of the United States.” Everyone prepare for the Baker 2070 campaign.)

Wolfson’s 2010 piece on the Baker campaign is a good one for those who need a refresher (or a primer.) He lays out Baker’s pros and cons:

It wasn’t that long ago that Charlie Baker was looking very much like our next governor. He was the man who’d single-handedly rescued Harvard Pilgrim, the sinking health insurance giant; the guy who’d balanced every budget and made the tough choices to turn Massachusetts around in the administrations of Weld and Paul Cellucci. A fiscal conservative and self-proclaimed social moderate (pro-choice and for same-sex marriage), he also had the benefit of challenging an incumbent governor with approval numbers so dismal even his supporters were all but conceding defeat.

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That was the thinking, anyway. It turns out that Patrick is not nearly as cooked as everyone had assumed. A ferocious campaigner, the governor has made few mistakes during his reelection bid – while taking advantage of opportunities to look like a confident leader during the flooding problems and drinking-water emergency of the spring. Then there’s state Treasurer Tim Cahill, the former Democrat whose campaign has been competing directly with Baker for the anti-Patrick vote.

But the real challenge for Baker hasn’t been his competition. It’s been Charlie Baker. What he has not shown, more than a year after announcing his intention to become the state’s next governor, is any real talent for campaigning. What he has shown is a troubling inability to connect with voters.

Perhaps that failure—characterized by a tendency toward shyness and a habit of digging into policy minutiae rather than selling a big message—colors this opening salvo. It’s a politics-light, personability-heavy pitch to elect Baker as the affable father of our state. Should be fun to watch.

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